I heard about the movie Heavy Metal in Baghdad (2007) a couple of years ago, but only recently decided to check it out. It tells the story of Acrassicauda, the only Iraqi heavy metal band. (Maybe by now, a couple of others have formed.) Directors Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi follow them over the course of several years, showing the extreme hardships the band and their families are forced to endure. At times, the filmmakers literally risk their lives. But they quickly come to realize that the jeopardy they experience is nothing compared to that of their friends.
Acrassicauda (which we’re told is Latin for “black scorpion”) lives heavy metal. In a nation that’s been invaded—that has had war brought to it—that obviously has more than one meaning. Honesty is revealed, as well as raw emotion: joy, love, frustration, futility, pain, anger. They tell their story of families divided, as they are compelled to flee to Syria, then to Turkey. (“Heavy Metal in Istanbul” is a featurette on the DVD.) A few months after the time period in the movie, the band arrives in the US.
This month, they were finally able to issue a release, an EP called Only the Dead See the End of the War. The “thrash” strain of metal isn’t my favorite (I’m more of the progressive type), but I still give it a thumbs-up.
Still, even if you don’t like heavy metal—or even rock music in general—the movie is well worth watching. It shows the dishonesty of what the mainstream media tells us about the Iraq war, as well as war in general.